Keynote Speakers

“The journey for me has always been about discovering new ways to cut a garment, to sculpt, enhance and play with shape. I see myself almost as an architect of the female form. I’m inspired by making women feel gorgeous and creating that power and allure a woman has when she feels good about herself.”

Maria Grachvogel

Maria thinks deeply about the cut and fit of her garments and this almost scientific functionality and strive for perfection has always remained the core of her brand. Through her very personal and uncompromising approach to design, Maria has built a loyal and growing client base of all ages over the years.
Originally mentored by the late Isabella Blow, Maria burst onto the catwalks in the autumn of 1995, where she held her first runway show on the London Fashion Week schedule, showcasing her Spring/Summer ‘96 collection. It was styled by the visionary Isabella, who had been an early fan of Maria’s work and really took Maria under her wing.
Maria’s journey had actually started a decade previously, where the self-taught designer started cutting and making
clothes after learning the basics of pattern cutting and assembly as a child. Here her fascination for cut, form and drape led her to develop her own blocks and cutting techniques which have remained the basis of her work to date.
“It’s truly hard to put a start date on my life as a creator and designer as I started so young. It was a real passion for me from an early age”.

By the year 2000, after a whirlwind five years as an established designer, Victoria Beckham headlined at the Autumn/
Winter show which generated a huge international frenzy and interest in the brand. Since then, there has been no looking back and the brand continues to go from strength to strength, dressing a host of celebrity devotees along the way including the likes of; Angelina Jolie, Emma Thompson, Yasmin and Amber Le Bon, Florence Welch, Kelly Rowland and Jessie J to name but a few. In September 2001 Maria successfully opened her first flagship store on London’s Sloane Street. This was a turning point for Maria on both a personal and professional level, giving her the
chance to communicate with her clients directly, in a way she never had before. It was so much more than a catwalk show, which was a moment in time, she finally had the chance to create her own space as well as offer the level of service she wanted her clients to experience. As the business grew so did the need for more space and Maria’s flagship store and head office is now located around the corner in Chelsea’s Culford Gardens. Maria’s precise cutting technique is also mirrored in her clever exploration of textiles and print and her approach to this has always been her point of difference since the beginning of her career. Originally introduced to someone who could hand devore by Isabella Blow, Maria had this wonderful idea to enhance and play with the female form by using the technique on finished dresses to follow the line of the dress and sculpt the body. A laborious process but with incredibly beautiful results, these pieces soon became favourites amongst customers and press. By 2004 Maria started working with digital print for the first time, creating digitally printed dresses which are all painted and printed as a garment, not a piece of fabric. A trademark technique which is still used in all collections today, the combination of Maria’s impeccable cut and hand painted prints creates a beautiful illusion on the female form, perfectly highlighting the power of innovative print application.

Maria’s technical knowhow has also led to the creation of the much hyped about ‘Magic Pants’ which won their name due to their magical slim lining effect. Guaranteeing longer legs and a smaller bottom, working for everyone, whatever age shape or size. “I made it my mission to design trousers which fit and flatter, I have dispensed with pockets and side seams, which is why they give the illusion of a slim silhouette.” says Maria. Another Grachvogel staple is the jumpsuit, which is continually presented in an array of flattering cuts and colours seasonally, Maria covets this style so much she actually wore one of her white jumpsuits on her wedding day. Maria now runs a global fashion business, which has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and whilst her collections have continually evolved over the past two decades her philosophy and desire to make real women feel sensational and unstoppable in her clothes remains the firm foundation for her business. The Maria Grachvogel brand can be found on her website and in Flagship stores in London and Singapore as well as at some of the world’s most exclusive stores including Harrods and Harvey
Nichols and Start.

“I believe in great cut, fabulous fit and truly beautiful clothes. I see my role as a designer, to create wonderful, desirable pieces that fit effortlessly onto the female form. I also believe great design has an element of functionality – a fabulous garment should not only be beautiful and desirable but should also feel comfortable and have great versatility in your wardrobe”.

Maria Grachvogel